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So, look who I found floating in the cats' water bowl this morning.

How did it get there? The first guess is that it climbed in looking for water. Given that water bowl is glass and scorpions can't climb glass, it doesn't seem likely.

Guess two is the cat who likes to dip his "toys" in his water bowl caught the scorpion and decided to "wash" it. In any case, apparently scorpions aren't good swimmers.

I recently saw a photograph of a grasshopper fluorescing under UV light. The photographer said he used a regular camera to capture the image. Ever since, I've been eager to give it a try. Because even drowned scorpions are known to fluoresce,  here was my chance.

I took the bowl with the scorpion into a windowless room and turned off the light. Then I turned on a UV light (blacklight). The scorpion glowed a greenish color. I used the "night mode" setting on my camera to capture the above photograph (I think I need to work on my method.)

Why do scorpions fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light? The current theory is that it is part of a chemical process in the scorpion's "skin" that allows it to detect and avoid ultraviolet light. This makes sense because scorpions are active at night and hide under things away from the sun during the day.

Now if they could only avoid water...

Have you ever looked closely at a snail shell?

The shell can be many colors, but it is usually opaque.

When I downloaded this photo, I was surprised to see the channels on the inside of the shell. Can you see the vein-like, branching structures I'm talking about?

Let's zoom in:

It turns out that in young land snails like this one -- with a thinner, more transparent shell -- it is possible to see the interior vessels of the mantle and mantle cavity (lung).

In fact, if you look closely you might see some of the other internal organs, as well.


Do you like snails? See our previous post about snails:

Snail Q and A and fiction picture book, Escargot

Last month while I was in western New York I found this critter.

It seemed to be a grasshopper, but with very long antennae.

I backed out to try to get all the antennae in the frame. Then it struck me that it felt like trying to take a photograph of katydid nymphs back home (previous post).

The insects we usually think of as grasshoppers don't have such long antennae.

This little guy is actually a meadow katydid or longhorned grasshopper (genus Conocephalus).

Meadow katydids don't sing the katy-did, katy-did of regular katydids. They tend to buzz or rattle, instead.

Here's an example of a common meadow katydid singing.

Did you notice one of its antennae was shorter? Likely it got broken off, which seems it could be a real hazard with such long ones.

Check out all the different meadow katydid songs at the Songs of Insects website including one that sounds like a lawn sprinkler.

Have you heard meadow katydids sing?